February 12, 2009

Purdue Creates Renewable Energy Website

Purdue University Extension has powered up a Web site on cleaner, greener energy.

The Renewable Energy site offers an array of resources on environmentally friendly energy sources and conservation. The site is located at http://www.extension.purdue.edu/renewable-energy/.

Web site visitors can learn about installing wind turbines and solar panels, ethanol production and cutting energy costs, among other topics, said Klein Ileleji, a Purdue Extension agricultural engineer.

"The Web site provides information on various sustainable energy technologies and energy efficiency, based on research conducted at Purdue and other universities and government agencies," Ileleji said.

"When you go to the Web site you'll find pages devoted to wind and solar energy, biofuels, and corn ethanol co-products, as well as on-farm energy efficiency systems. There also are topical pages that include Purdue Extension publications, tools and spreadsheets that are used for analysis of various renewable energy systems, and links to other Web sites."

Renewable energy is a research emphasis within Purdue Agriculture. Studies have been conducted, or are under way, on grain and cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, dried distillers grains with solubles, wind farms and solar heating. Additional research has been done at Purdue's Energy Center at Discovery Park and the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering. Links to those Purdue research facilities and others are available on the Web site.

Interest in renewable energy is growing, said Chad Martin, Purdue Extension renewable energy specialist.

"We get a lot of requests at Purdue for information regarding large-scale and small-scale wind developments at the local county level and from regional groups," Martin said. "We have a number of resources available on the Web site and will add more, as our capacity grows in this area."

Farmers should find the Web site a valuable information source, Martin said.

"Another area of interest, particularly in our agriculture community, is the grain drying energy audits that we help producers conduct," he said. "We work with producers to determine what they are actually spending per bushel to dry grain. Of course, grain drying is a big-ticket area within a modern farming operation. It consumes a tremendous amount of energy, so helping people get an understanding of where they are and where they can make efficiency improvements is beneficial to the industry."

The Web site also has an events page, with a comprehensive listing of renewable energy workshops, conferences and activities in Indiana and across the Midwest.

"You hear a lot about green jobs and energy independence," Ileleji said. "With this Web site we're hoping to be on the cutting edge of the sustainable energy revolution."

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture and Indiana Office of Energy and Defense provided financial support or content for the Web site.

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